Jamie Oliphant, affable dweeb but viciously misanthropic cyclist, explains how a head-on collision with a car and his first year teaching completely changed his opinion on humans in new Fringe show, The Oliphant in the Room. Jamie spoke with The Fountain about the show in more depth as well as his plans for this month.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
YES! I can’t wait. Super exciting, nerve wracking and terrifying but also very exciting.
TF: The Oliphant In The Room certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s all about my last two years spent teaching at schools in North West London; everything from conflict escalation to the sex and relationship syllabus.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
It was really from my experiences at the schools- when you start off you’re kind of thrown into it, then you meet these teachers along the way who have pretty spectacular ability for conflict resolution and building self esteem in others. Seeing them work on a daily basis really gave me the concept of the show and wanting to apply those lessons outside the classroom. Then I saw the nature of the public discussion around some of the syllabus changes happening in the pres- and how that escalated into a pretty toxic discussion, so I felt a responsibility to speak openly as someone who’s been in the classroom while the new curriculum is being taught.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?/Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I’ve been to the fringe before as a performer doing shows with other comedians but this is my first time doing an hour. If you’re performing up there for the first time I would just say enjoy it, there’s no pressure, and chat to as many people as possible, remember its not like this all year round where everyone is in the same place for one month. I’m really looking forward to seeing Daniel Audritt, Kat Butterfield (from Northern Powerblouse) and Sid Singh, who are brilliant comics who I’ve known for a long time (and are also doing a new material show with at 8.30 in The Newsroom everyday). I know Esther Manito is doing her debut and she’s amazing, also Nigel Ng is phenomenal. And Daniel Jones and Hannah Fairweather are new acts who’ve been killing it in the competitions this year and definitely ones to watch.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond the fringe?
I’d really like to keep working in schools in some capacity; I’ve been speaking to my previous school about doing workshops in comedy for some of the teenagers. I’ve done workshops for the elderly community in Brixton, which was the best. If I can keep combining education and comedy I’ll be very happy.
You can see Jamie Oliphant: The Oliphant in the Room at Just the Tonic at the Tron until 25th August at 11:40. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/